Oct 17, 2019

Homeschool Review Crew: Worthy Kids

My youngest daughter, Abbie, is a bit of a bookworm. But just a bit of one, because while she does love to read, she can be a little picky about what she reads. So when she finds an author or series that she likes, she needs to read them all! That is why, even though at twelve she is beyond the upper limits of their age range, (6 to 9 years old and grades 1 to 3) she was excited to get the chance to read the next two books (Book 5 and Book 6) in the series of the Secret of the Hidden Scrolls. These books are published by WorthyKids Books and are called:
Secret of the Hidden Scrolls: The Shepherd's Stone (Book 5)
Secret of the Hidden Scrolls: The Lion's Roar (Book 6)
This is a great series that allows young children to experience the events of the Bible and absorb the truths found in Scripture in an exciting and engaging way. The stories are age appropriate yet still factual.
Abbie and I have previously read and enjoyed the first four books in the series, so we just jumped right in.
At the beginning of the series, we meet Peter and Mary, siblings who are nine and ten years old, respectively. They are staying with their Uncle Solomon while their parents are away for a month. 
Uncle Solomon is an archaeologist with a house full of amazing treasures that he willingly allows his young guests to examine. But then he shows them the most amazing artifact of all... the Scrolls. 
These Scrolls take the children back through time and allow them to experience Biblical events. In the first book, they witness Creation, then in the second they meet Noah. In the third book, the kids experience the plagues in Egypt and in the fourth book, they march around the city of Jericho with Joshua and his army.
Now, in book five, The Shepherd's Stone, Mary and Peter find adventure again. Because of an accident, they discover a map of the house with a room they didn't even know existed! As Uncle Solomon tells them stories of King Josiah and the first king of Israel, the roar of the lion calls them back in time once again. 
They find themselves in a pasture with a shepherd boy named David who trusts God to help him protect his sheep from bears and wolves. He encourages Peter to trust God, too, when Peter must face his fears to help David and a lamb. 
Then Michael (the angel) shows up with a scroll and rules as he does in every book. The children must solve the riddle of the scroll without breaking the three rules or they are stuck in the past. 
They travel with David to the battlefield where the Israelites are fighting the Philistines and they watch the dreadful meeting with Goliath. Once again they encounter Satan and defeat his evil plans with God's truth. Fear not! God is bigger than any problem!


In book six, The Lion's Roar, the children find themselves in a ziggurat ancient Babylon. They run right into the High Priest of the idol Marduk. He tries to force them to bow to the fake god, but they refuse. He threatens them with the dungeons but Michael shows up and rescues them. He gives them the usual rules of solving the scroll.

Then they meet Hannah, a young Israelite captive of King Nebuchadnezzer who works in the Hanging Gardens and also happens to be Shadrach's granddaughter.

After several adventures and narrow escapes from the High Priest, the children learn of a plot against Shadrach's friend, Daniel who is also a governor. God saves Daniel from the lions and the children solve the scroll: God is in control!

We love these simple but powerful stories. They are full of excitement and danger but also overflowing with God's power and protection. The children always learn an important truth that reveals God's character to them.

The tales are well written and engaging. They definitely keep us coming back for more! We highly recommend them for your early readers!

And we hope you will enter this giveaway for a set of the entire series: including book seven which will be released soon! Click on the graphic below to enter!




Secret of the Hidden Scrolls: The Shepherd's Stone (Book 5) & The Lion's Roar (Book 6) {WorthyKids Books Reviews}


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Oct 16, 2019

Homeschool Review Crew: Brain Blox

We have another fun product to review! I would have passed this one by, but my teenager who is hoping to be some sort of builder/designer/constructor when he grows up asked for me to let him check them out. So here is our review of Brain Blox Wooden Building Planks from Brain Blox



Our enormous stack of blocks came with a beautiful bag to store them in. 



This is a sturdy, bright red, cloth bag with plenty of room for all of the blocks.




It has a drawstring closure that doubles as a handle to carry the bag around. 





We were also given a booklet full of creative suggestions and ideas on what to build. We promptly lost this booklet. But that's okay! Because on the Brain Blox website are links to a PDF booklet with ideas: plants! furniture! boats! And even some two dimensional ideas like a flower.

Free play with blocks is always fun for kids of all ages. But Brain Blox offers a plethora of educational uses for their planks. 
  • use your markers to turn the planks into characters for your stories... this is Art and Literature and Storytelling!
  • use the planks to make the alphabet for Phonics
  • solve brain puzzles (and then create your own) for Math and Logic
  • build famous buildings or scenes from History
  • design architectural models or robots for STEM

The first person to use the Planks was the little one year old that we babysit. As you can tell, she was thrilled to be our reviewer!





She likes to stack them. She likes to knock over whatever the other kids build. She likes to carry one around all over the house. But mostly, she likes to taste them.

My thirteen year old, the one who originally asked to do the review, spent the most time just playing around with the planks. He enjoyed figuring out things to build on his own.


Complicated things...


I wanted to use the Building Planks in my high school World History class, but it never really worked out. So I just assigned my two middle school students from that class to build the Parthenon. Because they enjoy that kind of thing.




It seemed like it would be complicated, and they were intimidated when I first asked them to do it. But after they had freaked out a little bit, I showed them the video that I found in the Brain Blox Youtube collection and they were able to quickly and easily recreate the famous building from Ancient Greece. 






Ta da! The Parthenon! And it really only took them a few minutes and couple of stressful incidents where they were afraid it was going to topple over. Thankfully, Daniel has a steady hand and a calm, thoughtful method of realigning his pillars. 





All in all, we have had a lot of fun playing with these planks! They are sturdy, versatile, and truly fun for all ages. We strongly recommend them, not just for play, but for a variety of educational enjoyment in your home and your school. 

But don't just take our word for it! Check out the other Crew reviews and see what they had to say about Brain Blox Wooden Building Planks from Brain Blox


Brain Blox Wooden Building Planks {Brain Blox Reviews}



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Sep 16, 2019

Goalie Girl

In her next to last year of playing soccer, Kaytie decided to do something new! She is learning to play keeper. Her first game she gave up zero goals!!! Here's to a great season!


Sep 3, 2019

Homeschool Review Crew: Zeezok

My schooling style leans heavily in the direction of Charlotte Mason, which I am always looking for ways to include learning about things like artists, composers and good literature. I love to read, so the literature is easy but I am not naturally an artist nor a composer, so art and music are a little more difficult. When my kids were younger, we were asked to review an elementary music appreciation course from Zeezok Publishing that we thoroughly enjoyed. So I was delighted when they asked us to review their new product Music Appreciation Book 2: for the Middle Grades.




The course consists of nine readers and a Student Book. There are other things you can buy to add on, like a lapbook and a coloring book, but this is the basic package. I was sent a paper copy of the Student Book and physical copies of eight of the readers (the other one was sent by ebook because of a small mistake, if you buy the package you will receive all the books in physical form, or you can choose audio or ebook form). 

The readers are actually biographies of the composers studied in the program. They contain easy-to-read text and and black-and-white simply drawn illustrations as well as sheet music for some of the composer's songs. 

The Student Book is actually also the Teacher's Guide and contains all of the instructions you need to follow the program.

Another component of the program are the QR codes found throughout the book. There are instructions for downloading an app on your device to read the codes or you also can just type in a website in your browser and pull it up just as easily. This website contains all of the music you need to listen to during the course. It also has some videos that enhance the program. Let me just tell you that this was sooooo much nicer and easier to use than the CDs in the elementary program! It is all laid out so you can quickly find exactly what you need. 

This product is aimed at 5th to 8th graders, but my 10th and 11th graders enjoyed it just as much as my middle schoolers. I think it would be great for most high schoolers but especially if they had not previously been exposed to classical music and composer study.

There are seven composers included: Chopin; Schumann; Wagner; Foster; Brahms; Tchaikovsky; and McDowell.

So using Music Appreciation Book 2: for the Middle Grades is easy.  If you have the product and an internet connection, it is "open and go". The composers are color-coded so it is easy to find your place in the book. And each composer has a schedule or weekly outline right at the beginning of their section. Chopin takes five weeks and all the others take four (if you follow the schedule). The schedule tells you what parts to read in the reader each week and then what activities to do in the Student Book. 

You can have your children read the biographies on their own, or you can use them as a read-aloud (especially if you have multiple children) but the activities are meant to be done together, parent included. 


The activities are varied. There are quizzes and tests to take, like the one below. There are comprehension questions and short answer questions as well, but we prefer to do those orally.


There are character qualities tied into each composer, fun facts to read, mapping exercises to bring in geography learning, information about all types of unusual instruments, family trees, histories of what else was going on in the world during the composer's lifetime, musical terms to learn and explore, recipes to cook,  and of course, music to listen to!



Each day, or every other day, or however often you choose to learn some music appreciation, you just pick up the Student book and work your way through the activities. It really is as simple as that. We added it into our Morning Meeting (group work/morning basket/ circle time for teens/ whatever you want to call it)  and just do a little bit throughout the week. 




We highly recommend Music Appreciation Book 2: for the Middle Grades for your entire family!





Music Appreciation Book 2: for the Middle Grades {Zeezok Publishing Reviews}


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Meet the 7th Grader



Abbie is in 7th grade!!! She is also earning a high school credit this year!

Abbie loves reading, playing with friends, animals, babies, Barbies, and making people laugh.

She wants to be a preschool teacher when she grows up.

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